God’s Words, Your Heart Language: YouVersion and the Bible App

As our special live webcast mentioned last week, of all the people currently installing the Bible App™ onto their devices, 25% of them have their default language set to something other than English. (Just two months ago, that number was 12%.) When a person is able to read or listen to the Bible in their heart language, God uses that opportunity to connect with them in a truly special, unique way. We have a short video for you today about one such story, an opportunity where a Bible App user got to share God’s Word with a woman who was able to experience it for the very first time in her own language:

When people in the YouVersion community (like you!) use the Bible App™ to engage with God’s Word and share it with others, He softens hearts and changes lives, literally all over the world. The stories you bring back to the rest of us—about what God is doing in your life—are an integral part of the revolution taking place in how people connect with the Bible. In the coming months, we’ll be telling more of your stories right here.

Do you have a story you’d like to share? Here’s how:

  • Video. Upload a video of 4 minutes or less to YouVersion’s Vimeo page. (Please include your first name and last initial and tell us where you’re from.)
  • Facebook. Even if you tell us your story on video or through the form below, please consider sharing at least some of it with the whole YouVersion community, right on YouVersion’s Facebook page.
  • Right Here! Tell us your story in 400 words or less:

The Top 5 Reading Plans from the Bible App and YouVersion.com

With more than 150 reading plans representing 10 languages (so far!), YouVersion has phenomenal tools to help you engage with God’s Word. Reading plans are a simple way you can read just a little of the Bible each day, growing your knowledge and helping you connect with your faith in deeper, more meaningful ways. So just what plans are people reading? Here are the five plans with the most subscriptions in the YouVersion community today, whether in the Bible App™ on mobile devices, or at YouVersion.com:

  1. Life Application Study Bible ® Devotion. The most often-read plan on the Bible App will help you learn to apply God’s Word more fully to your life each day. Each day’s reading includes a Scripture verse and a brief devotional taken from the Life Application Study Bible. Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for providing this plan.
  2. The One Year ® Bible. The second plan is the world’s most popular annual reading Bible. Daily readings of less than 15 minutes provide you with excerpts from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs – guiding you through God’s Word in one year. Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for providing this plan.
  3. Bible in 90 Days. This next plan leads you through the entire Bible…in just 90 days! While it’s certainly an intense commitment, reading this much in such a compressed time will help you understand the big picture of God’s story in ways you may have never experienced before. Thanks to Bible Gateway for providing this plan.
  4. Chronological. Taking into account the order of historical events and the latest research, this plan takes you through the Bible in chronological order in one year. This is a great plan if you want to add historical context to your study. Thanks to Blue Letter Bible for this plan.
  5. First Steps Reading Plan. Plan number five is ideal for those new to reading the Bible. Based on the Life Journal Plan, this plan includes just a few, brief readings each day to build your consistency and confidence, both in reading the Bible, and in your faith. Thanks to Wayne Cordeiro for this plan.

Here’s the breakdown of YouVersion’s available reading plans, by the numbers:

Of course, each item on this list represents only what we have today. We expect each one of these to climb dramatically in the days and months ahead, as we continue partnering with passionate content providers to bring you more and more entry points into God’s Word.

Ask your friends what reading plans they’re using, and which ones they like. Share the reading plans you’re following. Be sure to let us know on Facebook and Twitter which ones are your favorites, which ones we can improve, and what reading plans you’d like to see that our YouVersion community doesn’t have yet.

What would you like to read? There’s a plan for that.

YouVersion Support is All-New!

As the next step in our plans to continue improving your support experience with the Bible App™ and YouVersion.com, we’re pleased to announce the launch of the all-new YouVersion Support website. How different is it? Well, if you haven’t been to YouVersion Support lately, then you haven’t seen all the helpful new stuff. You’ll find: Comprehensive answers to Frequently Asked Questions, organized by platform and topic. Video tutorials for common tasks. Live feeds from @YouVersion and @YouVersionHelp. Links to the many ways you can contact Support for help. And comprehensive search.

 

 

As excited as we are about this relaunch, it represents just one piece of a much broader strategy. Our goal is to provide world-class support every bit as good—and even better—than you can receive for products and services that you pay for. But with the YouVersion community growing by literally millions of people every month, welcoming all those new members to our family means we rely heavily on your active participation. We can accomplish so much more when we all work together.

The Bible App is truly a worldwide resource, but most of what we’re presently able to offer is written in English—a fact that doesn’t accurately reflect the demographics of who’s actually using YouVersion tools. If you can help us translate into your language, we’d be honored to have your help. Also, we receive many requests every month that require individual responses. Even when these are short, they really add up. If you’re tech savvy, answering platform-related questions for the Bible App is a great way that you can get involved. (If you don’t know what “platform-related” or “tech savvy” means, probably this volunteer option is not for you.) But don’t let that stop you: Let us know what you can do at http://support.youversion.com/how-can-i-help/.

Although we’re always happy to respond to your requests on Facebook and Twitter, our new YouVersion Support site lets us serve you better, providing answers tailored to your specific needs. Perhaps best of all: It doesn’t limit you to just 140 characters!

New from YouVersion: The Bible App for HP webOS Has Audio Bibles!

Free audio Bibles are now immediately available in the Bible App™ for HP WebOS. You can even listen to audio Bibles right inside your Reading Plan! Visit the App Catalog to have the latest release, version 2.3.1, sent directly to your device. (Remember: You won’t be able to use the new audio features until you have this latest release.)

Once you’ve gotten the update, you’ll be able to listen to the Bible on your webOS device while you’re working, exercising, driving…or even reading along! Here are just a few examples of some of the audio Bibles you’ll find in this release:

  • New International Version (NIV)
  • English Standard Version (ESV)
  • New Living Translation (NLT)
  • King James Version (KJV) Listener’s Bible
  • Douay-Rheims (DRA) New Testament Audio Bible
  • Chinese Standard Bible (CSB)
  • American Standard Version (ASV) New Testament
  • La Biblia de las Américas (LBLA), and
  • World English Bible (WEB)

This release also fixes a minor bug that kept the version list from updating properly. You might even notice better performance, as the Bible App now runs many of its tasks in the background, to get you to your reading more quickly.

Our partners are constantly working with the YouVersion community to bring you as many options as possible—including more languages—so keep checking your list of available audio translations. Select the current version name to display the complete list; audio Bibles are indicated with a small gray speaker icon next to them. Then, when you choose a version that includes audio, use the basic play controls to listen, fast forward, and rewind. We’d love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter and hear what you think!

The Bible App for Android Now Has Highlights, Better Bookmarks

We’re happy to share some exciting news today with the more than 5 million of you who connect with God’s Word using the Bible App™ for Android. Version 3.2 brings one of the most requested features: Highlights! Now, for the first time ever in the Bible App, you can select individual verses, or even entire passages, and highlight them with different colors. Use them just as you would with marker highlights in your paper Bible.

Highlighting a verse is simple. When you select a verse or multiple verses, tap the arrow icon in the bottom right corner and then choose a color. (Hint: You can even create your own custom color using the color wheel.)

But that’s not all—bookmarks are better too. Now you can give bookmarks a title and/or label to keep them better organized. Simply select a verse or passage, tap the arrow icon in the bottom right corner of the reader, and select “Bookmark” from the popup menu. Then give the bookmark a title, label, and you even have the option to highlight the verse while you’re creating the bookmark.

This newest release of the Bible App for Android is available now in the Android App Market. (And for those of us who are using iPhone/iPad or BlackBerry mobile devices, we can look forward to these features on our platform soon!) Don’t forget to comment and rate the app in the Android Market. It helps increase visibility so more people can find and engage with Scripture through the Bible App.

YouVersion Webcast Recap from May 26

Thanks to the thousands of you in our YouVersion community who tuned in for our live webcast today. We loved having the chance to connect with you and celebrate all you’ve been a part of over the past few months. So many of you joined us and did such an incredible job sharing the event and asking great questions that #YouVersion became a worldwide trending topic on Twitter! What a fantastic way to raise the visibility of God’s Word around the globe.

If you didn’t get a chance to catch the webcast while it was happening, we’ve posted the full video from the event below, along with a few highlights.

Key Links

A Quick Review

We recently announced that the Bible App had been installed on 20 million devices, and in the short time since that announcement, we’ve reached 22 million installs.

YouVersion currently offers the Bible in 41 languages and one of our main areas of focus this year is to rapidly increase that selection. Today, people can read the Bible or a portion of the Bible in about 2,000 languages, but there are more than 6,000 languages spoken throughout the world. Our goal is to make YouVersion available in every single language in existence.

More than 25% of the new installations of the Bible App occur on phones that are set to a language other than English, and Korean is the fastest growing language. By the end of the year, we hope to see 40-50% of new installations happening in languages other than English.

We announced a feature that many of us in the YouVersion community have been looking forward to—highlights! The feature is newly available on Android phones and will be coming to BlackBerry and iOS devices in the coming months.

The Bible App is here to help us all make God’s Word a part of our daily lives, but we also know how meaningful it is to share what we’re experiencing with others. To make this easier, we’ve set up a way for you to create your own meetups with other people who are passionate about the Bible. We’re also planning on adding social networks beyond Facebook and Twitter, and later this year we’ll be expanding the features offered for YouVersion Groups.

We’ve been aggressively working to upgrade the support we offer the YouVersion community. A new support site was just launched and we plan on including in-app access to support in coming releases.

Improved search functionality within the Bible App will be included on future updates to make it easier to find words and phrases in Scripture.

Many of you asked how you could say thank you to the Bible societies and publishers who make it possible for the YouVersion community to engage with so many great versions of Scripture for free. At the bottom of each version of the Bible you read in the Bible App, you’ll notice a link to more information about the organization who makes that version available. We encourage you to visit that link, contact them to say thank you, or support them financially. They are truly the heroes in making these versions freely available to all of us.

Thanks again for being a part of what God is doing through YouVersion. All of this truly could not happen without you. We believe that we could see half a billion or even one billion people engaging with Scripture through the Bible App as, together, we continue to take steps toward becoming the most Bible-engaged generation in history.

The Bible App for iPad: Now with Audio Bibles, YouVersion Live, and More

Although version 3.1 of the Bible App™ for iPad has lots to offer, many people will probably be most excited about audio Bibles, now available on iPad for the first time! Of course, before you can take advantage of these new audio features, you’ll first need to get the update, available immediately from the iTunes App Store.

With this update, we’re exploring some new ways to interact with the audio Bible component while reading Scripture. When you select a Bible to read that has audio, you’ll see a new small tab in the bottom right corner of the screen. Tap that tab to reveal the audio Bible player like the screenshot below. From there, you can play, pause, and move forward and backward within the chapter.

To see which translations support audio on your iPad, just look for the speaker icon [] next to the list of versions inside the app. Here are just a few examples you’ll find:

  • New International Version (NIV)
  • English Standard Version (ESV)
  • New Living Translation (NLT)
  • King James Version (KJV) Listener’s Bible
  • Douay-Rheims (DRA) New Testament Audio Bible
  • Chinese Standard Bible (CSB)
  • American Standard Version (ASV) New Testament
  • La Biblia de las Américas (LBLA), and
  • World English Bible (WEB)

Be sure to keep checking your Versions list, because we’ll be adding even more audio Bibles (and in more languages) in the coming months.

More for iPad. Also in this release, iPad adds full access to YouVersion Live Events for the first time, just like you’ve already been enjoying on iPhone. Lastly, one awesome new feature exclusive to iPad is that, as you begin typing Bible book names in Search, the Bible App will auto complete them for you—a huge time-saver!

iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. There’s so much to love in this release. No matter which portable Apple device you use to engage with the Bible, you should notice that chapters you’ve visited recently will load faster. And thanks once again to YouVersion’s awesome community of volunteers, if your device’s default language is set to Italian, you’ll discover that the Bible App’s interface is now much more intuitive for you.

Here’s how you can get yours right now:

If you already have the Bible App installed:

  1. On your Apple device, tap the App Store icon.
  2. When the App Store opens, tap the Updates icon.
  3. Tap Update for the Bible App
    OR
    Tap Update All.

If this is your first time installing the Bible App:

  1. On your Apple device, tap the App Store icon.
  2. When the App Store opens, tap the Search icon.
  3. Search for “Bible”.
  4. Tap the Bible App from LifeChurch.tv.
  5. Tap the FREE button.

Reminder: Webcast TOMORROW, May 26!

Be sure to mark your calendar and join us for a very special webcast, as together we celebrate all that God has done through YouVersion and what’s to come in the near future:

TOMORROW, MAY 26, at 11:00 AM CDT

We’ll be sharing the latest news and taking an inside look at what’s ahead for the Bible App. Don’t forget to let your friends know about it on Facebook and Twitter. When you do, you’ll be entered to win an iPad 2! Use the following phrase to be eligible:

Join me for the @YouVersion Webcast Thurs, May 26, 11am CT. RT to enter to win an iPad2!

We’re excited about this opportunity to come together as the YouVersion community and we can’t wait to hear from you. Get your questions ready, because we’ll be awarding a couple of iPad 2s to people who ask questions during the event (just be sure to use #youversion in your tweets/posts).

It’s going to be fun! We’re looking forward to seeing you there: http://www.youversion.com/webcast.

New Version: The Greek New Testament SBL Edition

The YouVersion community now has access to another version of the Greek New Testament! The Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software have partnered to produce The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition—SBLGNT for short.

What is the SBLGNT? A brand-new edition of the Greek New Testament, edited by Michael W. Holmes, well-known for his work on early Christian literature. To establish the text, Holmes referred to a wide range of printed editions of the Greek New Testament and consulted the latest technical resources and manuscript discoveries. What resulted is the latest, most up-to-date edition of the Greek New Testament available anywhere. You can read more about the SBLGNT at SBLGNT.com, including why and how it was created.

Get yours. Besides in the Bible App™ and at YouVersion.com, you can also download the SBLGNT directly to your desktop or download an Acrobat (PDF) file of the print version. Logos has also made this version available as a free download in their free mobile Bible app. But no matter where you read it electronically…it’s free. You can even order a print copy directly from the Society of Biblical Literature.

The YouVersion community has made it clear that you enjoy engaging with different versions of the Bible to increase your understanding of Scripture. We’re excited to be able to offer the SBLGNT. Thanks to Logos Bible Software and the Society of Biblical Literature for making it possible!

The Bible App and YouVersion: New Reading Plans…in More Languages

YouVersion now has more than 150 unique reading plans, with some available in as many as 10 different languages! If you haven’t already tried one, a reading plan is a terrific tool to help you engage with the Bible, as each day you learn what it says by reading a manageable, carefully selected portion.

Explore a whole new category of topical reading plans through the Uncover the Word series, with plans generously provided by the American Bible Society in both English and Spanish. Some of these plans last 7 days and some 40, with two plans even offering unique passages every day for an entire year! These clear, practical plans reveal what the Scriptures have to say about such various real-life concerns as losing a job, parenting, loneliness, dating and forgiveness (to name just a few).

Another new individual reading plan you’ll discover is the Discipleship Journal Reading Plan from NavPress, a one-year reading plan designed to help you see the continuity in the Bible by leading you through passages from four separate places in the Bible each day.

Finally, The Stewardship Council brings our YouVersion community three studies tailored specifically to helping us manage well the resources that God provides us: Undying Commitment, Unquestionable Character, and Unwavering Conformity.

If you’re looking for your next plan to read, or if you haven’t tried one yet, any of these would be a great place to start!